SAN RAFAEL --  Mike Shapiro, general manager and president of the San Rafael Pacifics baseball club set to begin play as early as spring, is 25-year veteran of  the sports and entertainment industries.

Mr. Shapiro has served in a variety of positions in sports team management, television production and administration, new media production and rights acquisitions, marketing, athlete representation, consulting and golf course management.He also has worked in a wide range of professional sports,  including baseball, golf, basketball and hockey.  He has also served as a senior executive, legal counsel, managing principal of his own consulting firm and media producer.

Q. San Rafael and Marin County have not had a professional sports team before. What makes it a good location for a minor league baseball team and why was it the preferred choice for the Pacifics?  

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A. This is the first professional baseball team to call Marin County its home and we believe that it will make a huge impact on this community because of the demographics of the region that are so family-based and economically favorable.  While it's true that there are a lot of entertainment options in the area, we believe that minor league baseball will offer a unique, low-cost family entertainment option that will give people a reason to spend their summer nights in San Rafael

Q. What sort of challenges, if any, did you run into in getting approval for the team to play in San Rafael? How were you able to overcome them?  

A. The biggest challenge was communicating to some skeptical people, particularly in the local neighborhoods, that this idea would benefit the entire community in so many ways:  we'll be sending our players and coaches to local schools, senior centers, hospitals and other community events, we'll be providing summer jobs for local teens, we'll be offering the radio and TV coverage of our games to local colleges so students can learn how to produce game coverage of pro baseball. And it goes on and on.  In essence, we're adding a wonderful and exciting resource to the fabric of this community 

Q. How will the arrival of the Pacifics contribute to the overall economy in Marin and San Rafael? Do you expect to draw crowds from outside of Marin?

A. We expect to bring in people to see our games that wouldn't otherwise be coming to downtown San Rafael.  This will be coming from out-of-town visitors or locals who will stay in town rather than going elsewhere for their recreation and entertainment

Q. What improvements need to be done to the field you intend to play at? Could the construction possibly bring jobs into San Rafael?

A. There are a number of safety-related improvements like putting up a backstop net or fencing in the areas around the dugouts as well as cleaning up and painting the grandstands.  We’re also going to add some concessions stands to improve the fan experience

Q. The team will be an independent and unaffiliated team. Could this change in the future and are there ever plans to affiliate with a MLB team?

A. No plans to affiliate

Q. It sounds like you’ve expressed interest in other parts of the Bay Area for possible teams, including Sonoma County. Can you elaborate a bit on this?

A. Our rights provide exclusivity for independent baseball in the 10-county bay area and we intend to put five to six  teams together over the next few years.  We are currently looking at Sonoma County and the East Bay for potential expansion.